You’ve got to love Telltale Games. They’ve effectively managed to build themselves a great reputation in a decidedly niche gaming genre, adapting such iconic properties like Lucasarts classics such as Sam & Max and Monkey Island, as well as silver screen cult classic, Back to the future. For their next title however, the studio is going to be tackling the popular comic and hit TV series, The Walking dead.
With a visual style that mimics current Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlards style, the game will follow the exploits of Lee, a man on his way to prison when the zombie apocalypse occurred, and Clementine, a young girl that he picks up along the way, making for an interesting dynamic according to Telltale.
Game designer Jake Rodkin has stressed that while TWD will fit into previous Telltale game moulds, it wont be an action game where â€œthe last shot of this game is probably not going to be a guy with two axes on top of a mile-high mountain of zombiesâ€.
â€œThe Walking Dead is not really a game about people who save the world. It’s more about a story of trying to survive as people inside of this huge and horrible situation", Rodkin explains.
The story starts out with Lee awakening after the apocalypse has hit, as the police vehicle that he was in has crashed. Lee makes his way into a nearby house that has been raided, and experiences first hand the nightmarish new world when a zombified babysitter attacks him, only to be saved with some timely assistance from young Clementine.
Players will also come across familiar TWD characters such as Rick Grimes and his party, but the crossing of paths wont overlap with any current storylines, rather resulting in different scenarios featuring the protagonists. These encounters will become less frequent as the episodic game plays out, and just because you’ve read the comics or watched the TV series, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security about what decisions to make.
Rodkin explains that people shouldn’t play the game along the lines of â€œ’Well I’ve seen him turn left twice now, I saw it in the comic book and in the show, so I’m going to go left.’ And as much as a designer would hope that people are going to experiment with your system, people would just want to see that story againâ€.
One other feature that makes TWD so interesting is that characters encountered will cross over into future episodes, something that has largely been ignored by Telltale for more self-contained games. Failing to save a character in one game means that they will no longer be able to assist you, but keep them alive, and they’ll be travelling with you into future episodes.
Even conversation branches will result in more permanent issues, with party characters logging all the stupid or intelligent things you say, and treating you appropriately. There will be actual consequences that can either hinder or help a player, so everything done in the game has some sort of repercussion attached to it.
Telltale has remained glib on when exactly we can expect the finished game, but it looks like it will still be a while before we get to explore the world of undead cannibals, in this familiar yet different offering from Telltale Games.
Last Updated: July 27, 2011